This Tour Package is mainly handcrafted for the Ismaili community to explore and learn about the major spots of preaching of Islamic beliefs. It encompasses Gujarat as a whole while covering cities and towns like Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Patan, Dasada, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhuj and Junagarh to name the most prominent ones.
While the main aim of this tour to take a trip to the places of interests to the Ismaili community, the tour package also includes some of the most beautiful tourist attractions which are unique in their natural presence. While on the one side Jamatkhanas, mosques, shrines and tombs take away the main highlights of the tour package, a small but bright part of the same is contributed by places of scenic beauty.
Additionally, you will be meeting people of several sects and living across numerous tiny villages. The aim is to know about their lifestyle, their livelihood, their handicrafts and their family traditions. The famous mirror works, or the mud houses, or handmade embroideries are some of the distinct occupations of these people that they are practicing over decades traditionally.
Come, be a part of the Ismaili Community tour Package to get enlightened by the religious places, the preaching and the people.
Welcome to India, you are at Ahmedabad. Get greeted by our representative at the airport, who would transfer you to your hotel for check-in. Your first stride of ismaili Tour Package begins with the visit to Sidi Sayed Mosque. This famous mosque of Ahmedabad was built in 1573 and is known to be an emblematic of the architectural beauty of the city. The mosque is a symbol of the days when Gujarat prospered under the Muslim rule. You will be accompanied by a guide who would take you around for the ten screen windows on the side and the rear arches which comprises the mosque.
Up next in the visit list is the Tomb of Ahmed Shah, the founder of Ahmedabad. Situated quite close to the Jama Masjid, the architectural extravagance and exquisite artwork bring on the class and elegance of the tomb.
The Minarets of Sidi Bashir would be the next destination to visit which is immensely popular for its unique construction. Also known as the Jhulta Minar (Shaking Minarets), the mosque was built by Sidi Bashir, a slave of Sultan Ahmed Shah. Another conflicting story hints at the construction being done by Malik Sarang who was a noble in the court of Muhammed Begada, another Sultan of Gujarat. The Sidi Bashir Mosque, completed in 1452, has twin minarets, each three stories tall with carved balconies. The unique thing of these minarets is that if you gently shake either of the minarets, the other one starts vibrating for few seconds although there is no vibration in the passage in between. The phenomenon remains a mystery and hence a tourist attraction for obvious reasons.
In the evening, you will be visiting Sarkhej Roza - a mosque and tomb complex located in the village of Makarba – famous as one of the most elegant and unique architectural marvels of Ahmedabad. The structure beautifully incorporate a fusion of Islamic influences from Persia and the indigenous Hindu and Jain features of construction to come up with the beautiful “Indo-Saracenic” style. The complex of Sarkhej Roza was built at the advent of Sultanate era.
Come back to the hotel and stay overnight.
Start your day with a breakfast served at the hotel after which you will be driven to the Historical Shrine of Hajarat Pir Imamuddin Bawa Roza at Pirana village. Situated at about 18 km from Ahmedabad, the Hajarat Pir Imamuddin Bawa is believed to have given birth to the Satpanth faith almost 600 years back.
There are twenty communities living in Pirana village belonging to different religions and castes, but all are equally devoted to Pir Imam Shah Bawa. The shrine is also very popular among several followers descending from different parts of Gujarat, India. About 84% of the sect comprise of Hindu followers known as Satpanthisa. Several others belong to the Kutchhi Patel community who are Muslim followers known as Sajyeds.
If that is something you found unique here at the Roza, hold on as you would observe more surprising elements. The priests, who are in charge of the main tomb of Hajarat Imam Shah and his son Mohammad Shah, belong to Hindu religion. The pilgrims who come out of the shrine are greeted with priests in white with saffron color marking on the forehead (tilak). The exclusivity doesn’t end here. You would also find the Hindu syllable Om sign painted at several places on the walls of the shrine built over the tomb of pir Imam Shah Bawa.
The other things to watch and get devoured by the pilgrims are the Dholia (Aashan) built at the spot where the pir used to sleep. The dargah was renamed as Prerna Pith or Samadhi Mandir as ordered by the court.
Once you are done with the tour of Pirana village, you will be transferred back to Ahmedabad to retire to your hotel room for overnight stay.
Have your breakfast at the hotel and head off for a drive to Siddhpur. The first place to visit is The Aga Khan School in Sidhpur which was built by Aga Khan Education Services in 1993 with the motive to teach the students in Gujarati. However, it has been converted into an English medium institute in 2002.
Within the complex lies the Aga Khan Hostel or the Siddhpur Girl’s Hostel which was established in 1938 under the leadership of Itmadi Ladjibhai Jivan Patel and Itmadi Vajirbhai Aliji Maknojia. The hostel has come a long way since its establishment and today it spreads over wide area with a farm bungalow, 4 rooms, wells, a well-equipped swimming pool and a garden.
Move ahead with your tour and the next destination is Kakoshi Jamatkhana at Kanodar which is a famous prayer and worship centers for Ismailis. Learn about the establishment, their motives and aims, and meet the eminent faces of the Jamatkhana before proceeding to Dasada.
On the way to Dasada, you will be visiting Rani ki Vav (a step well). Located in the town of Patan, Rani ki Vav was built as a memorial to the 11th century king Bhimdev Solanki by his beloved queen Udaymati. Conceiving as the best example of step wells in terms of architecture, Rani ki Vav measures about 64 meters and has long stepped corridors that descend down to an underground tank. There are four pillars among which the one that supports the roof have square base ornamented with Ghat Pallavas. Rani ki Vav remains as one of the largest and the most luxurious structure during that time.
Up next is the Patan Patola of weaving – a paradise for the shopaholics and a passionate place to be for the ones interested in textile industry. Patola silk is often touted as the queen of all silks for its traditional way of weaving and fine texture. There is a special patola loom where the silk is weaved and colored in natural fabrics. Originally practiced to make sarees, the weaving is done on several things including tablecloth borders, scarves and handkerchiefs too.
Modhera Sun Temple is up next in the list of your day 3 itinerary. The temple dates back to 1026 CE when it was built by King Bhimdev. Considered among the most popular sun temple in Gujarat, the temple is devoted to the Sun God. Some of the finest architectural skills can be seen here in this temple. The most fascinating thing about the Modhera Sun temple is that the deity is greeted with the first rays of morning sun during equinoxes.
Drive straight to Dasada from Modhera, which takes around 1 hour. Check-in to the hotel in Dasada where you will be spending overnight.
This day is dedicated for some adventures amidst wildlife. Start off early for a morning safari at the Little Rann of Kutch which is famous as the only place to find the rarest wild asses. The jungle safari would be followed by village safari in the evening.
The main attractions of the Wild Ass Sanctuary are the endangered brown Asiatic wild asses, which are often spotted in herds. A jungle safari in the early morning would give you scopes to catch glimpses of Indian antelope, nilgai (India’s largest antelope) and the graceful Indian gazelle (chinkara). Carnivores like the endangered Indian wolf, desert fox, Indian fox, jackals, desert and jungle cats, and hyenas are most commonly spotted in the sanctuary. The avifauna is quite rich with flamingoes, pelicans, ducks, cranes and storks being the main inhabitants.
Post the jungle safari, you will be taken for a village safari along the Rann of Kutch. The tour encompasses the rural Vadiara and Kharapat Rabaris of Dasada exclusively famous for the intricate embroideries. The silk-weavers colony at Dasada, and Ambala Village known for the Bharward shepherds and goatherds are the other two places included in the package. You would also be taken to the weaving cooperative at Bajana and other artisans’ workshops. Padhars (known primarily for fishing), the Siddis and the Mirs (semi-nomadic), Jaths (Muslim herders) and Bajanias are some of the other societies living near Dasada.
After exploring Dasada, its people, their work and living, you will be transferred to the hotel at Dasada for overnight stay.
After having your breakfast, head off to Rajkot on road. On the way you will be visiting AKDN (Aga Khan Development Network) – Rural Micro Finance Rain Water Harvest at Sayla. Located at Surendra Nagar, the Sayla Rain Center is a boon to the drought prone district of North Gujarat. The livelihood is difficult for local people in this region, including their main source of income – agriculture. The rain center stores information in the form of panels, working models, artificial rainfall, and water quality testing laboratory. It is a rural knowledge resource center on rainwater harvesting and water management that trains on how rainfall can be harvested in semi-arid condition. The training is provided to the local people and outsiders both Government and Non Government staff on similar issues.
Once visited the Sayla Rain Center, drive to Rajkot. There you will be taken to visit H H Prince Agakhana Girls Academy. The school is exclusively for girls of all communities with the aim to provide quality learning spaces and healthy environment.
Come straight to your hotel at Rajkot where you will be spending overnight.
Start your day with your breakfast at hotel, post which you will be driven to Ganod to visit Ghulam Shah Ali Dargah. Sayed Ghulam Ali Shah Mashadi was a descendent of Peer Yar Ali Shah (R.A) (famously known as Tahir Prinda) who migrated from Mashad (Iran) during mid fifties of 16th century to preach Islam in the country.
Later, get driven to Junagadh to visit Jamat Khana and Kabristan. The Jamat Khana at Junagadh is quite old and houses the Regional Council of India. It is an old practice still followed in the Jamat Khana to recite daily the tasbih of Ya Ali Ya Muhammad and salwat for 14 times in the name of Varas Ismail Gangji and pray for him.
Check-in to your hotel at Junagadh for overnight stay.
After breakfast, you will be taken to visit Siya Islami Esm Eliya Jamatkhana at Gir. Enclosed in a small and structured place, this Jamat Khana mainly belongs to families with agriculture and farming as major ways of living. After this visit, get driven to Jamnagar. On the way, you will be visiting Maliya, Hatina Jamat Khana.
Reach Jamnagar, and in the evening visit Jamnagar Jamat Khana as the last one for the day. Meet the people, know their living and get enlightened with the religious and spiritual motivations before checking-in to your hotel.
Overnight at Jamnagar.
Start your day with a drive off to Kera post breakfast. The first stop is Ghulam Shah Ali Dargah. The well-wooded shrine of the saint Ghulam Ali is built on an enchanting rising ground within the enclosure of three chief buildings, a mausoleum, the dargah with a tomb under a canopy, and is supported by twelve small Islamic styled columns. Ghulam Ali was a saint based in Kera and was the descendent of Pir Sadruddin, who, about 1400, converted many Kutch and Gujarat Hindus to the branch of the Khoja Ismaili Shia faith, later called Satpanth.
Continue your journey by road to Bhuj where you will be visiting the Jamat Khana. Later, retire to your hotel for overnight stay.
Start your day with a breakfast at hotel and then head off to Mundra to visit The Aga Khan School, Mundra in 1905. The school was established by Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah, Aga Khan III in Mundra, Kutch district in Gujarat. It was the first school under the organization which grew into a large network of schools scattered all over Gujarat.
Up next are the visits to Mata Salam and Jamat Khana. Overnight stay at Bhuj.
The day begins with a visit to Jamat Khana at villages Ningar and Nangarpur. Both the places play significant roles in the lives of the Jamat where preachings are reserved for traditions and practices specific to the Shia Ismaili tariqah of Islam.
Return to Bhuj where you will be spending overnight.
Have your breakfast at the hotel and start for a journey towards Banni Village. On the way, you need to take permissions to visit the Banni Tribal Area at Bhrindyara check post. In Banni Village (which literally means a cluster of village), you will be exploring and meeting several people like Jat, Harijan, Meghawal and Mutva to name a few. The villages that you will be traveling are Hodka, Ludiya and Dhordo.
The Banni region is inhabited by the Meghwal-Harijans who migrated from Rajasthan. They make their living by doing Khambira, Kharek, Kudi Stiches in their embroidery. The other works include outline and satin stitch embroidery and minute mirror designs done by hands which are quite similar to those of the famous Mutwa embroidery of the region. Get a souvenir or two from the wall hangings, waistcoats and pouches in Kharek Stich, or you may also buy the “Moti Bharat” or beadwork done on handheld fans, bracelets, toys and belts to name a few.
Move ahead with your journey and the next place is Hodka village. The name Hodka is derived from the Gujarati word “Hodi” which means “boat”. The villages here are referred to as “jheels” (portable water). Hodka village is the most popular for its beautiful embroidery work and mud work, along with the most famous leather work done by the artisans here. The handworks are done by every family and both men and women are involved in the same traditionally.
Ludiya Village is next in your tour which is mainly inhabited by the Harijans and Muslims as the main communities. They are involved in monsoon farming, cattle rearing, intricate wood carving, intricate embroidery work, mud-work and wall painting for decorating homes as their main ways of living. Harijan men are skilled at wood carving, while the women take up embroidery and wall decoration
Dhordo is next in the to-visit places which is famous for traditional mud houses (Bhungas) with mirror work, and also in making fine Mutwa embroidery with tiny mirrors.
Kalo Dingar the next place to cover which is the highest hill in Kutch, situated at a height of 462 m above sea level nestled in the border of India and Pakistan. The top view is spectacular and the ambience is fresh and cool perfect to enjoy and breathe light. The panoramic view of the Great Rann of Kutch is the most mesmerizing sight that you can capture from the region, especially during the surrise and sunset. There is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Dattatrey. The deity is the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in one body with three heads and six hands that is accompanied by a cow and four dogs.
The last stop for the day is Khavada which is mostly inhabited by Meghwar and some of the Samma community.
Return to Bhuj hotel for overnight stay.
This is the last wing of your trip. Have your breakfast and get transferred to Bhuj airport or the railway station for onward or return journey.